Whether it’s from parents, players or coaches, disrespectful behaviour has become a growing concern in our gyms, rinks and on our playing fields.

Bullying before, during or after sports may appear as:

Unwarranted yelling and screaming directed at the target.

Continually criticizing the target’s abilities.

Blaming the target for mistakes.

Making unreasonable demands related to performance.

Repeated insults or put downs of the target

Repeated threats to remove or restrict opportunities or privileges.

Denying or discounting the target’s accomplishments.

Threats of, and actual, physical violence.

E-mails or instant messages containing
insults or threats.

A recent survey of 22,000 high school students across the United States found that 48 percent of students had been targets of hazing. Hazing, a form of bullying is when kids are humiliated in sports or forced to take part in dangerous events.

  • When a bully is an adult, it is most often a sport coach 42%
  • Targets of Hazing 48%

What Parents & Adults Can Do:


Recognize that you are a role model to your child, other players and parents. Set a good example and reinforce positive behaviour when you see it.


Ensure that a pre-season meeting is held with parents, athletes, coaches and board members to discuss acceptable boundaries of behaviour for everyone involved.


Enquire whether the coach is certified and a member of a provincial sport governing body with a code of ethics and harassment policy. If not, work with the coach, other parents and board members toward getting the coach certified.


Try to attend practices and games whenever possible. If private practices are held, ask for an explanation.


If you observe bullying, bring the matter to the attention of the coach, other parents or league officials.

What Players Can Do:


Trust your instincts. If someone’s behaviour is making you feel uncomfortable or threatened, don’t ignore it. You have the right to be treated respectfully. There is something that can be done.


Talk to someone you trust—a parent, friend, coach, manager or another player. Remember to keep speaking up until someone helps you.


Stay calm. Bullies love a reaction so don’t give them one.


Project confidence. Hold your head up and stand up straight. Bullies pick on people who they think are afraid. Show them you’re not.


Don’t reply to messages from cyberbullies. If you’re receiving threatening text messages or e-mails don’t reply, but keep the messages as evidence. The police and your Internet Service Provider and/or telephone company can use these messages to help you.